3 Really Important Renovation Rules

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Repairs cost more than getting it right in the first place
When your budget starts shrinking quicker than you thought it would and your deadline is looming in to view it can – completely understandably - be tempting to cut the odd corner or two. But don’t, because chances are it’ll come back to haunt you at some awkward future date.
Sure, go for the marble-look vinyl for the bathroom floor rather than the more expensive marble tile to save cash - but know you’re always going to long for that cool, smooth tile underfoot and in a few years time will probably rip up the vinyl and replace it with marble anyhow.
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When you’re planning your renovation budget it’s a good idea to have a bit of money put aside for unexpected expenses – projects can often go from 5 to 15 per cent over budget. Forecasting isn’t easy these days, but there are ways to make sure you don’t end up hugely out of pocket or having to compromise over a much-loved feature.
Be prepared to be flexible
With the best will in the world no renovation is perfect first-time round. With old houses in particular unexpected problems – as well as nice surprises - are regularly uncovered. Who would have thought, for instance, that there would be a beautiful Victorian fireplace behind that awful wood panelling in the bedroom -  one that you’re prepared to rethink the entire bedroom décor scheme for?
If plumbing limitations mean you can’t have a sink and shower in that gorgeous garden house you’d planned, then so be it. Consider using the building as a studio instead and think about where it may be possible to install a cloakroom toilet in the main house instead.
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In other words, keep an open mind, get lots of inspiration and be prepared to change your plans as the renovation gets underway. Alterations to the schedule could - and very possibly will - add weeks to the project but let’s face it, the renovation is going to be around for years if not decades to come. To bear in mind though that you may be charged extra for alterations which weren’t originally planned – and which is something you can discuss with your contractor at the time of the contract.
Time stretching does, however, bring up another point too – try to plan the renovation at the quietest time of the year for you and your family. That means with weeks to spare around holiday time, annual family visits and Christmas (when it will be difficult to get a hold of builders and other tradesmen anyhow).

Always, always get an expert builder
This is where you’re probably going to live for the next decade (or it’s an investment property you’re hoping to rent out at a good price). So, the last thing you need is a renovation that needs regular repair and just looks shabby.
Ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues, check references, go and see past projects and find out as much as you can about the builder you’re considering before agreeing to go ahead. You wouldn’t go along to the first dentist you saw advertised in your local newspaper so don’t do it with your precious bricks and mortar investment.
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A particularly important point is to make sure your chosen builder has insurance (if anything goes wrong with the project you don’t want to be left out of pocked) and trade qualifications. Quiz them on their knowledge of planning and development certificates for your planned development too.

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